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IAM745- Founder Crafts Experiences That Lead to a More Just World

Podcast Interview with Lisa Sharon Harper

Lisa Sharon Harper is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a groundbreaking consulting group that crafts experiences that bring common understanding and common commitments that lead to common action toward a more just world. Lisa is a public theologian whose writing, speaking, activism and training has sparked and fed the fires of reformation in the church from Ferguson and Charlottesville to South Africa, Brazil, Australia and Ireland. Lisa’s book, The Very Good Gospel was named 2016 “Book of the Year” and the Huffington Post identified Lisa as one of 50 Women Religious Leaders to Celebrate on International Women’s Day.

  • CEO Hack: The discipline of silence
  • CEO Nugget: (1) Being truthful about the story we're living and that we want to live (2) Changing the values we're putting to work with our organization
  • CEO Defined: One who holds the dream, is responsible for carrying out that dream or the failure of carrying it out

Websitehttp://www.freedomroad.us/

Freedom Road Social Social Media
FB- @freedomroad.us
IG- freedomroad.us
Twitter- @FreedomRoadus

Lisa Social Media
FB- @lisasharonharper.page
IG- lisasharper
Twitter- @lisasharper

FULL INTERVIEW


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Transcription

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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:29.80] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Lisa Sharon Harper of Freedom Road. Lisa, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.60] – Lisa Sharon Harper

It is so great to be here, Gresh, and thanks for inviting me.

[00:00:41.00] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Lisa so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Lisa is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a groundbreaking consulting group that crafts experiences that bring common understanding and common commitments that lead to a commit common action towards a more just world. Lisa is a public theologian whose writing, speaking, activism, and training have sparked and fed the fires of reformation in the church from Ferguson and Charlottesville to South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and Ireland. Lisa's book, The Very Good Gospel, was named the 16th book of the year, and The Huffington Post identified Lisa as one of fifty women religious leaders to celebrate International Women's Day. Lisa, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:22.20] – Lisa Sharon Harper

I am. I'm honored to be here. Thank you.

[00:01:24.29] – Gresham Harkless

I'm honored to have you on the show, and you're doing so much phenomenal work. So I wanted to to kick everything off with what I call your CEO story. I want to rewind the clock a little bit here in here a little bit more. I wanna let you get started with the awesome work you're doing.

[00:01:35.00] – Lisa Sharon Harper

Okay. Well, my CEO story. I'll tell you what. I never really never ever saw myself as a CEO. I had been told when I was younger, that I'm not a good leader. I was told, oh, yeah. You're a really good wing woman, wing person, but that was also in the context of a community that was evangelical, white evangelical in particular, and they were not used to having women leaders, and they certainly weren't used to being led by people who weren't white. So I've come to understand that, and I think that as my understanding of and I understand that most of your audience is not necessarily gonna be Christian or religious or anything like that, but this is my story.

Right? So my story goes there. That as I became, convinced of the spiritual call on every single human being to exercise agency in the world, then I began to rise into that myself and realize, well, that's true of me too. And, the thoughts that God is giving me right now are for the world, for the good of the world, and so I better share them with some folks. And when I began to realize that the thoughts that I was getting were a little bit different than the place where I was I was situated at the time, then I started to realize, okay, it's time for me to start to build to build the thing that that that God is placing in my imagination. And that's how Freedom Road came to be.

[00:02:47.69] – Gresham Harkless

I absolutely love that. And so often, I talk about, the parable of the talents. When I was thinking of whether should I take the leap or should not take the leap, and sometimes I feel like I have this call and it's something that I'm being told to do, I would go back to that verse in in in the parable and see that a lot of times we're giving certain things that you kinda spoke to. And I appreciate you for reminding us of that. I appreciate you even more for doing that because I feel like it gives us a reminder to kinda do it within our lives as well.

[00:03:11.30] – Lisa Sharon Harper

Yeah. I'll tell you. And it's a scary, scary thing. I mean, I previously worked at Sojourners magazine, and it wasn't just a magazine. It's actually an organizing organization based here in Washington, DC, and I was their chief church engagement officer and learned so much from being there. That was it was a great privilege to be there because Sojourners is so much kind of at the center of the faith-rooted work that's going on in the world and has been for, like, the last forty-five years. Now going on fifty years. Next year, it'll be fifty years. So when I began to feel like, oh, this is not it's not quite fitting right, you know, the first thought is, oh, it must be me.

And then I started to realize, no, it's not me. It's just that the dream that God has given me is slightly different here. I can try to dairy rig myself into this structure. But if you do that for too long, you lose the dream. You actually lose the fire that could get you to that dream. And what I've come to understand is that God places dreams in our hearts so that they will be realized, so that they will bless the world. Our dreams are for the sake of the world. And so when I began to realize, okay, what God is doing here is making it so uncomfortable that I will then begin to dream elsewhere.

I'll begin to ask what else, and that's what happened. And but it still took God, to make it really clear. And I'd said, God, please make it plain. And what God did I know I'm talking a lot of God stuff here right now, but whatever. So this is my life. Right? So I was at a spiritual retreat, and bishop Yvette Flunder, whom I'd never met before, was in a peer mentoring group with me because we're all part of the Auburn Senior Fellows. And, we're in a peer mentoring group and she says, Lisa, I have a word for you. And I said, what are you talking about?

[00:04:50.69] – Lisa Sharon Harper

You have a word for me. I've never met you before. We haven't even talked. I mean, she lit we literally had not ever shared two words and she the first thing she ever said to me was, Lisa, I have a word from the Lord for you. I said, okay. And she said the word from God for you is jump. I was like, holy shoot. You know? I mean, okay. You can't get much more clearer than that. And then she said, wait. Wait. I have a follow-up word. I was like, a follow-up word? I never heard of a follow-up word. It gets a follow-up word from the Lord. So she said, I have a follow-up word. And I said, okay. And she said the follow-up word from the Lord for you is I cannot catch you until you jump.

So one month later one month later, you know, I spoke with Jim Wallace and tearfully, actually, he cried. I cried because we were really we were like we are like family. They are like community to each other. But I just it was very clear to me that the future I could not see my future there. I did not know what I was walking into. I really didn't know. But I just knew it wasn't there. So I had to exercise faith and step out. You know, faith is like taking that step when you don't know if the ground is gonna be there to meet you, and then realizing it is when you take the steps. So God caught me. It was in the following months that the dream for Freedom Road began to become clear.

[00:06:14.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That's extremely powerful. And I think so many times, as you said, like, we don't necessarily know how everything's gonna line up, what all the steps are, but a lot of times we do have to take, those steps and and and take that leap and to jump out in order to do that. And I love the part that you mentioned as well too, that sometimes, things are uncomfortable because it is forcing you to jump, forcing you to take that action, forcing you to be uncomfortable enough to be able to decide to do what you've been hoping and wanting to do in your dreams and in aspirations.

I think so many times that we can continue to kinda go on, and it feels right to continue on and doing step by step by seven things that we, don't kinda rock the the ship or do anything against the grain. But I think so many times when we are disrupted in that area, it creates this disruption for us to continue to kinda live out, our destiny. So, I know part of your destiny is, Freedom Road. So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. Could you take us through exactly what that is and how you serve the client as you work?

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[00:07:08.50] – Lisa Sharon Harper

Oh, absolutely. We believe in the power of story at Freedom Road. I mean, we are all about the power of story to change the world. We believe that narrative shapes worldview, and as a result, it shapes the world. And so part of the reason why our nation and our world have gotten to the place where it is right now is that narratives have been suppressed. Narratives have been crushed. Narratives have been twisted. The truth has been twisted about what happened. The truth is the story has been told by the victor, by colonizers, by people who have actually exacted their will over whole nations, and not just whole nations, but people's bodies.

And so we are all about, the business of decentering the stories that have been told to us by those who conquered and centering the stories of the conquered, centering the stories of the ones who who have been pressed to the margins so that we can have a better understanding of what actually happened, where the break between us happened so that we can fix it. So we we leverage the power of story, in order to build those spaces where there we can we can come to common understanding and common commitments and take common action. And we do that through consulting and coaching and training and pilgrimage, which is my favorite thing.

In fact, that's really in many ways, it's, it was the original dream of Freedom Road was actually to help people go through as many pilgrimages or as many people as possible go through the spiritual practice of pilgrimage as possible because pilgrimage changed my life so very, very much, and my understanding of the world. And I've come to understand there's no more powerful way to change us than to walk in the shoes of the other and to live for a moment in their story. So we do it through pilgrimage as well and, also the building of forums for others for people to come together and come to a common understanding.

So we have also in the last three months, built out four months, built out, the latest wing of our work, which is the institute, which gives opportunity for individuals, not just organizations, to come and be changed through, the immersion of stories in another way. So we have a decal on how to decolonize the Bible webinar series that has literally just, like, taken off immediately. Because I think people in the church all over the world are realizing that even the narrative of Jesus and Jesus' heritage and Moses and David, all of that was also colonized in our mind. And because it was interpreted and reinforced from the halls of empire, it has borne the results that it's borne. It is the base of support that you get, for our current administration comes from the church, from the white church.

But how could that be for a faith that was born out of a community that was brown colonized and indigenous? How could that faith bear support for an administration that boasts of putting children in cages and, and, disrupting even disrupting the COVID response, you know, so that more people die? No. I'm sorry. But brown Jesus would not be for that. Part of the reason why we don't understand why Christianity has been able to be used in the way it has is because it's been Jesus has been extracted from his context and plopped down in the middle of the halls of the empire. The same empires that funded and benefited and did the Atlantic slave trade at the time that they were then they were discerning what the Bible means and says. So our project our project is to help groups, and people, individuals to build a better world through the reconciliation of narrative.

[00:10:46.50] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. I absolutely appreciate all the work and all the awesome things that you're doing. And I think, as you said, you know, it's so necessary because I think so many times and I love that story piece and the same reason I asked, you know, every person that's on the show to start out with their story because I think it's such a powerful tool. And I think that a lot of times, if we don't understand the stories, if we don't understand sometimes the truths that are happening in the world, it's hard to repair stories. We have so many ways that we can tell stories. We have so many ways that we can have our microphones or our books or our public whatever that might be Yeah.

In so many different ways. So there are so many ways that we can tell our story, so many ways that we can read other stories as well too to really understand one another, to understand exactly, what's happening in the world and not just today, but how it was probably deeply seeded maybe before we were even born at some point. So, I I truly appreciate, you know, all the awesome things that you're doing and the work that you're doing as well. So, I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you or it could be from free to the road, but what do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:11:51.10] – Lisa Sharon Harper

Well, I do believe that it is that story piece. So Mhmm. We're not just a consultancy that comes in and, you know, works things in a scientific way or according to some algorithm. Those things work to some degree, and for the purpose that they have. But we really do believe that this is not science. This is art. This is actually the work of repairing our world and our organizations, the work of reconciling the stories or bridging the narrative gap as we say, is a work of art. And as a result, it's a spiritual work. As a result, it's a work it's a human work. So we are very much about listening to the story that has been told, that has been lived out in organizations, in people's lives.

And then, moving on a deep level through spiritual transformation to change that story into the future so that people can be mindful of the story they've been living and then choose another story moving forward. Grabbing from and recalling the lessons from the past, but not repeating the mistakes of the past or repeating the false narratives of the past. So and like I said, that that's that's, a large part of what we do. So that happens through pilgrimage. I think, honestly, I think that one of the most unique things that we do is blend the spiritual practice of pilgrimage with our consulting, our coaching, and our training because we believe that that's there's nothing more powerful. There's no more powerful experience to have that is transformative and teaches us about the world than pilgrimage. And that's all about story as well, just immersing yourself in the story of the other.

[00:13:25.60] – Gresham Harkless

I truly appreciate that. And I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:13:36.50] – Lisa Sharon Harper

First of all, I am not the most tech-savvy person in the world, though I do know what I'm doing on a few different platforms. Right? So, I don't think that I could tell you about any one particular app that other CEOs haven't figured out. But I do think that for me, the CEO hack has been silent. It's been the discipline of silence. I am I am not a huge meditator. I actually pray. I'm like, Lord, please. You know, like, holy god. You know what I mean? That kind of thing. And so it's a discipline to sit in silence.

[00:14:10.20] – Gresham Harkless

I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or an organization you're working with, or if you hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:14:20.39] – Lisa Sharon Harper

It's actually for us as CEOs to be truthful about the story that we're living and that we want to live. That it's not enough for us to pose. It's not enough for us to have good intentions. If we want to change the story of our world, then we have to start with us. We have to change the way, the values that we are putting to work in our organizations.

[00:14:52.50] – Gresham Harkless

I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So, Lisa, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:15:01.29] – Lisa Sharon Harper

To be a CEO is to hold the dream, and be responsible for the carrying out of that dream, or the failure of the carrying out of that dream.

[00:15:12.60] – Gresham Harkless

Lisa, truly appreciate that definition, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

[00:15:24.20] – Lisa Sharon Harper

Well, you can always reach me at Freedom Road dot us. I also have another website, lisasharonharper.com because I'm a speaker and a writer. And so that part of the work that I do, which we call LSH community, is building community on the Internet, the on the interwebs, you know, Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. But for the work that we do at Freedom Road, we would love the opportunity to partner with you. And just, you know, give us a ring by going on our website hitting the contact tab, and letting us know how you might be interested in partnering. You can also follow me on Facebook at Lisa Sharon Harper or Freedom Road dot us Twitter at Lisa s Harper or Freedom Road us or Instagram at Lisa s Harper or freedomroad.us.

[00:16:08.89] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much, Lisa. I truly appreciate that. We will have all the links and information in the show notes just to make it even easier so you can find out everything that's going on with Freedom Road and LSH enterprises as well. So truly appreciate you again, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

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[00:16:22.20] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Title: Transcript - Tue, 30 Apr 2024 11:56:53 GMT

Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2024 11:56:53 GMT, Duration: [00:16:58.18]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:29.80] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Lisa Sharon Harper of Freedom Road. Lisa, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:38.60] - Lisa Sharon Harper

It is so great to be here, Gresh, and thanks for inviting me.

[00:00:41.00] - Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Lisa so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Lisa is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a groundbreaking consulting group that crafts experiences that bring common understanding and common commitments that lead to a commit common action towards a more just world. Lisa is a public theologian whose writing, speaking, activism, and training have sparked and fed the fires of reformation in the church from Ferguson and Charlottesville to South Africa, Brazil, Australia, and Ireland. Lisa's book, The Very Good Gospel, was named the 16th book of the year, and The Huffington Post identified Lisa as one of fifty women religious leaders to celebrate International Women's Day. Lisa, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[00:01:22.20] - Lisa Sharon Harper

I am. I'm honored to be here. Thank you.

[00:01:24.29] - Gresham Harkless

I'm honored to have you on the show, and you're doing so much phenomenal work. So I wanted to to kick everything off with what I call your CEO story. I want to rewind the clock a little bit here in here a little bit more. I wanna let you get started with the awesome work you're doing. 

[00:01:35.00] - Lisa Sharon Harper

Okay. Well, my CEO story. I'll tell you what. I never really never ever saw myself as a CEO. I had been told when I was younger, that I'm not a good leader. I was told, oh, yeah. You're a really good wing woman, wing person, but that was also in the context of a community that was evangelical, white evangelical in particular, and they were not used to having women leaders, and they certainly weren't used to being led by people who weren't white. So I've come to understand that, and I think that as my understanding of and I understand that most of your audience is not necessarily gonna be Christian or religious or anything like that, but this is my story.

Right? So my story goes there. That as I became, convinced of the spiritual call on every single human being to exercise agency in the world, then I began to rise into that myself and realize, well, that's true of me too. And, the thoughts that God is giving me right now are for the world, for the good of the world, and so I better share them with some folks. And when I began to realize that the thoughts that I was getting were a little bit different than the place where I was I was situated at the time, then I started to realize, okay, it's time for me to start to build to build the thing that that that God is placing in my imagination. And that's how Freedom Road came to be.

[00:02:47.69] - Gresham Harkless

I absolutely love that. And so often, I talk about, the parable of the talents. When I was thinking of whether should I take the leap or should not take the leap, and sometimes I feel like I have this call and it's something that I'm being told to do, I would go back to that verse in in in the parable and see that a lot of times we're giving certain things that you kinda spoke to. And I appreciate you for reminding us of that. I appreciate you even more for doing that because I feel like it gives us a reminder to kinda do it within our lives as well.

[00:03:11.30] - Lisa Sharon Harper

Yeah. I'll tell you. And it's a scary, scary thing. I mean, I previously worked at Sojourners magazine, and it wasn't just a magazine. It's actually an organizing organization based here in Washington, DC, and I was their chief church engagement officer and learned so much from being there. That was it was a great privilege to be there because Sojourners is so much kind of at the center of the faith-rooted work that's going on in the world and has been for, like, the last forty-five years. Now going on fifty years. Next year, it'll be fifty years. So when I began to feel like, oh, this is not it's not quite fitting right, you know, the first thought is, oh, it must be me.

And then I started to realize, no, it's not me. It's just that the dream that God has given me is slightly different here. I can try to dairy rig myself into this structure. But if you do that for too long, you lose the dream. You actually lose the fire that could get you to that dream. And what I've come to understand is that God places dreams in our hearts so that they will be realized, so that they will bless the world. Our dreams are for the sake of the world. And so when I began to realize, okay, what God is doing here is making it so uncomfortable that I will then begin to dream elsewhere.

I'll begin to ask what else, and that's what happened. And but it still took God, to make it really clear. And I'd said, God, please make it plain. And what God did I know I'm talking a lot of God stuff here right now, but whatever. So this is my life. Right? So I was at a spiritual retreat, and bishop Yvette Flunder, whom I'd never met before, was in a peer mentoring group with me because we're all part of the Auburn Senior Fellows. And, we're in a peer mentoring group and she says, Lisa, I have a word for you. And I said, what are you talking about?

[00:04:50.69] - Lisa Sharon Harper

You have a word for me. I've never met you before. We haven't even talked. I mean, she lit we literally had not ever shared two words and she the first thing she ever said to me was, Lisa, I have a word from the Lord for you. I said, okay. And she said the word from God for you is jump. I was like, holy shoot. You know? I mean, okay. You can't get much more clearer than that. And then she said, wait. Wait. I have a follow-up word. I was like, a follow-up word? I never heard of a follow-up word. It gets a follow-up word from the Lord. So she said, I have a follow-up word. And I said, okay. And she said the follow-up word from the Lord for you is I cannot catch you until you jump.

So one month later one month later, you know, I spoke with Jim Wallace and tearfully, actually, he cried. I cried because we were really we were like we are like family. They are like community to each other. But I just it was very clear to me that the future I could not see my future there. I did not know what I was walking into. I really didn't know. But I just knew it wasn't there. So I had to exercise faith and step out. You know, faith is like taking that step when you don't know if the ground is gonna be there to meet you, and then realizing it is when you take the steps. So God caught me. It was in the following months after that the dream for Freedom Road began to become clear.

[00:06:14.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That's extremely powerful. And I think so many times, as you said, like, we don't necessarily know how everything's gonna line up, what all the steps are, but a lot of times we do have to take, those steps and and and take that leap and to jump out in order to do that. And I love the part that you mentioned as well too, that sometimes, things are uncomfortable because it is forcing you to jump, forcing you to take that action, forcing you to be uncomfortable enough to be able to decide to do what you've been hoping and wanting to do in your dreams and in aspirations. I think so many times that we can continue to kinda go on, and it feels right to continue on and doing step by step by seven things that we, don't kinda rock the the ship or do anything against the grain. But I think so many times when we are disrupted in that area, it creates this disruption for us to continue to kinda live out, our destiny. So, I know part of your destiny is, Freedom Road. So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. Could you take us through exactly what that is and how you serve the client as you work?

[00:07:08.50] - Lisa Sharon Harper

Oh, absolutely. We believe in the power of story at Freedom Road. I mean, we are all about the power of story to change the world. We believe that narrative shapes worldview, and as a result, it shapes the world. And so part of the reason why our nation and our world have gotten to the place where it is right now is that narratives have been suppressed. Narratives have been crushed. Narratives have been twisted. The truth has been twisted about what happened. The truth is the story has been told by the victor, by colonizers, by people who have actually exacted their will over whole nations, and not just whole nations, but people's bodies.

And so we are all about, the business of decentering the stories that have been told to us by those who conquered and centering the stories of the conquered, centering the stories of the ones who who have been pressed to the margins so that we can have a better understanding of what actually happened, where the break between us happened so that we can fix it. So we we leverage the power of story, in order to build those spaces where there we can we can come to common understanding and common commitments and take common action. And we do that through consulting and coaching and training and pilgrimage, which is my favorite thing.

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In fact, that's really in many ways, it's, it was the original dream of Freedom Road was actually to help people go through as many pilgrimages or as many people as possible go through the spiritual practice of pilgrimage as possible because pilgrimage changed my life so very, very much, and my understanding of the world. And I've come to understand there's no more powerful way to change us than to walk in the shoes of the other and to live for a moment in their story. So we do it through pilgrimage as well and, also the building of forums for others for people to come together and come to a common understanding.

So we have also in the last three months, built out four months, built out, the latest wing of our work, which is the institute, which gives opportunity for individuals, not just organizations, to come and be changed through, the immersion of stories in another way. So we have a decal on how to decolonize the Bible webinar series that has literally just, like, taken off immediately. Because I think people in the church all over the world are realizing that even the narrative of Jesus and Jesus' heritage and Moses and David, all of that was also colonized in our mind. And because it was interpreted and reinforced from the halls of empire, it has borne the results that it's borne. It is the base of support that you get, for our current administration comes from the church, from the white church.

But how could that be for a faith that was born out of a community that was brown colonized and indigenous? How could that faith bear support for an administration that boasts of putting children in cages and, and, disrupting even disrupting the COVID response, you know, so that more people die? No. I'm sorry. But brown Jesus would not be for that. Part of the reason why we don't understand why Christianity has been able to be used in the way it has is because it's been Jesus has been extracted from his context and plopped down in the middle of the halls of the empire. The same empires that funded and benefited and did the Atlantic slave trade at the time that they were then they were discerning what the Bible means and says. So our project our project is to help groups, and people, individuals to build a better world through the reconciliation of narrative.

[00:10:46.50] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. I absolutely appreciate all the work and all the awesome things that you're doing. And I think, as you said, you know, it's so necessary because I think so many times and I love that story piece and the same reason I asked, you know, every person that's on the show to start out with their story because I think it's such a powerful tool. And I think that a lot of times, if we don't understand the stories, if we don't understand sometimes the truths that are happening in the world, it's hard to repair stories. We have so many ways that we can tell stories. We have so many ways that we can have our microphones or our books or our public whatever that might be Yeah.

In so many different ways. So there are so many ways that we can tell our story, so many ways that we can read other stories as well too to really understand one another, to understand exactly, what's happening in the world and not just today, but how it was probably deeply seeded maybe before we were even born at some point. So, I I truly appreciate, you know, all the awesome things that you're doing and the work that you're doing as well. So, I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you or it could be from free to the road, but what do you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique?

[00:11:51.10] - Lisa Sharon Harper

Well, I do believe that it is that story piece. So Mhmm. We're not just a consultancy that comes in and, you know, works things in a way that is scientific or according to some algorithm. Those things work to some degree, and for the purpose that they have. But we really do believe that this is not science. This is art. This is actually the work of repairing our world and our organizations, the work of reconciling the stories or bridging the narrative gap as we say, is a work of art. And as a result, it's a spiritual work. As a result, it's a work it's a human work. So we are very much about listening to the story that has been told, that has been lived out in organizations, in people's lives.

And then, moving on a deep level through spiritual transformation in order to change that story into the future so that people can be mindful of the story they've been living and then choose another story moving forward. Grabbing from and recalling the lessons from the past, but not repeating the mistakes of the past or repeating the false narratives of the past. So and like I said, that that's that's, a large part of what we do. So that happens through pilgrimage. I think, honestly, I think that one of the most unique things that we do is blend the spiritual practice of pilgrimage with our consulting, our coaching, and our training because we believe that that's there's nothing more powerful. There's no more powerful experience to have that is transformative and teaches us about the world than pilgrimage. And that's all about story as well, just immersing yourself in the story of the other.

[00:13:25.60] - Gresham Harkless

I truly appreciate that. And I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:13:36.50] - Lisa Sharon Harper

First of all, I am not the most tech-savvy person in the world, though I do know what I'm doing on a few different platforms. Right? So, I don't think that I could tell you about any one particular app that other CEOs haven't figured out. But I do think that for me, the CEO hack has been silent. It's been the discipline of silence. I am I am not a huge meditator. I actually pray. I'm like, Lord, please. You know, like, holy god. You know what I mean? That kind of thing. And so it's a discipline to sit in silence.

[00:14:10.20] - Gresham Harkless

I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or an organization you're working with, or if you hop into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:14:20.39] - Lisa Sharon Harper

It's actually for us as CEOs to be truthful about the story that we're living and that we want to live. That it's not enough for us to pose. It's not enough for us to have good intentions. If we want to change the story of our world, then we have to start with us. We have to change the way, the values that we are putting to work in our organizations.

[00:14:52.50] - Gresham Harkless

I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So, Lisa, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:15:01.29] - Lisa Sharon Harper

To be a CEO is to be one who holds the dream, and is responsible for the carrying out of that dream, or the failure of the carrying out of that dream.

[00:15:12.60] - Gresham Harkless

Lisa, truly appreciate that definition, and I appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things you're working on.

[00:15:24.20] - Lisa Sharon Harper

Well, you can always reach me at Freedom Road dot us. I also have another website, lisasharonharper.com because I'm a speaker and a writer. And so that part of the work that I do, which we call LSH community, is building community on the Internet, the on the interwebs, you know, Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. But for the work that we do at Freedom Road, we would love the opportunity to partner with you. And just, you know, give us a ring by going on our website hitting the contact tab, and letting us know how you might be interested in partnering. You can also follow me on Facebook at Lisa Sharon Harper or Freedom Road dot us Twitter at Lisa s Harper or Freedom Road us or Instagram at Lisa s Harper or freedomroad.us.

[00:16:08.89] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much, Lisa. I truly appreciate that. We will have all the links and information in the show notes just to make it even easier so you can find out everything that's going on with Freedom Road and LSH enterprises as well. So truly appreciate you again, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:22.20] - Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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